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Innovation grants for Cosun projects

23 January 2013
The Ministry of Economic Affairs awards grants as part of its Top Sector policy to support innovation by and in industry. Four innovative and highly promising projects in which Cosun is involved can now count on support from the government.

Two projects are developing chemical building blocks from sugar beet pulp that can be used in nylon and bioplastics. A third project is seeking ways to produce a platform chemical, itaconic acid, in the beet itself. It involves the development of beet varieties that can make this chemical as well as producing sucrose (i.e. sugar). Itaconic acid can be used in many kinds of plastic.

Suiker Unie, a Cosun company, is taking part in a research project to produce biobased isobutanol from sugar beet. Isobutanol is a fuel with a higher calorific value than ethanol. It can also be used as a raw material for PET bottles, aircraft fuel, rubber and the like.

As well as these four projects, support has also been promised for a project to maintain soil fertility, chiefly by recycling minerals and plant parts in the agrofood chain that do not readily decompose (such as anaerobic digestate from biomass digesters). Such substances are important to ensure the sustainability of farm productivity.

A condition to be awarded a grant is that the recipient itself makes substantial investments in the project. In total several million euros are invested in these projects. On average each project will take two years to complete.